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Home  >  Medical Research Archives  >  Issue 149  > Ketogenic strategies for Alzheimer’s disease and other memory impairments: History, rationale, and 288 caregiver case reports
Published in the Medical Research Archives
Apr 2024 Issue

Ketogenic strategies for Alzheimer’s disease and other memory impairments: History, rationale, and 288 caregiver case reports

Published on Apr 26, 2024




Glucose hypometabolism predates Alzheimer’s disease symptoms by at least one to two decades. Ketones are an alternative fuel to glucose and are taken up normally in affected regions of the Alzheimer’s brain and could address certain pathologies that are common in the aging brain and exaggerated in Alzheimer’s disease including insulin resistance, a brain-energy deficit, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and neuroinflammation. Ketones have also been shown to reduce formation of beta-amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in animal models. Experts have estimated that at least 30 percent of Alzheimer’s and other dementias could be avoided by adopting a healthy diet, increasing physical activity, and correcting other modifiable lifestyle risk factors. Mild to moderate ketosis can be achieved through consumption of a healthy whole food low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet, ketogenic oils containing medium-chain triglycerides, or exogenous ketone supplements as well as intermittent or overnight fasting, and moderately vigorous aerobic exercise. An analysis was performed of 288 anecdotal reports about people with Alzheimer’s, other dementias, Parkinson’s disease with dementia, mild cognitive impairment, and other diagnosed or subjective memory impairments consuming coconut oil and/or medium-chain triglyceride oil. Improvement was reported by 89.2 percent, no improvement by 7.3 percent, and no improvement but stabilization for at least 3 months by 2.4 percent. One or more improvements were reported in the areas of memory/cognition (65.3%), social/behavior/ mood/personality (32.6%), speech/language/conversation (33%), resumption of self-care/other activities (24.7%), physical symptoms (18.4%), sleep (3.5%), appetite (2.4%), vision (1.4%), and improvement that was otherwise unspecified (8%). Certain fatty acids found in medium-chain triglyceride oil and coconut oil are ketogenic but also have other important biological effects which, along with polyphenols and other bioactive substances in virgin coconut oil, could explain these results. Adopting a personalized ketogenic lifestyle plan using one or more ketogenic strategies could address certain pathological processes that occur in the aging brain while potentially improving symptoms in people with Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, this approach could possibly prevent or delay the onset of cognitive impairment during aging, though larger long-term studies would be needed to confirm this.

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Mary Newport

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